Home > Tarian Silver Lion (New Tarian Pride #2)(5)

Tarian Silver Lion (New Tarian Pride #2)(5)
Author: T.S. Joyce

“I like seeing you raw. I think you probably don’t let the world see this side of you.”

Rose eased back and released her grip on his jacket, then ran her fingernails from his short gray hair at his temple, down, down through his beard, massaging gently.

Talon rolled his eyes closed.

“Been a long time?” she asked, using his words.

His chuckle was deep and settled the heartache. “Maybe.” He leaned down suddenly and kissed her forehead. It was fast, just a few moments of his soft lips lingering there, but it was powerful. Her lioness settled, her body relaxed, and she was filled with some sensation she couldn’t identify. What was it, this steady feeling inside her?

“Go on, Wildcat,” he murmured, swatting her on the ass. “Go on to bed, and no checking the house.” He turned and pulled his jacket off, then tossed it in his car.

“What are you going to do?”

“I’ll watch the house so you can get a good night of sleep. I’d rather not be picking buckshot out of my ass by morning though, so leave the shotgun alone tonight, yeah?”

A stiff breeze could’ve knocked her over right now. He was going to watch the house? What did that even—?

Talon peeled off his black sweater and began shucking his pants. Oh good gracious, he was going to Change.

“Talon, you’re still hurt,” she said, gesturing to his bruised and mangled torso.

He just shrugged like it was nothing and kicked out of his boots. “I’ll probably heal faster if I get a good Change in.”

Naked. Talon was getting naked.

And, holy hell, that man had aged well. His muscles were rock hard and flexed with every movement, and she really shouldn’t be staring, but her body was all tingly and her nipples had perked up like two little marbles. He had abs and tattoos. The butt…the butt was glorious. Had she ever liked a man’s butt before? Possibly not, but Talon’s butt was a work of art. The man hadn’t skimped on his squats.

When he looked up, he had a smirk on his face like he knew she’d been watching, but just didn’t care. Rose wiped her damp cheeks real fast and cleared her throat. “I’ll make you breakfast then. In the morning. As repayment.”

Her piece said, she turned and marched to where the porch used to be. And then a little ungracefully, she climbed over the rubble and got her keys out, dropped them, found them again, shoved them into the lock, pushed open the door, and climbed inside on account of there not being stairs. She stood up, dusted off the knees of her jeans, and was about to tell him, ‘You really don’t have to do this,’ but a massive silver lion was standing there, staring back at her with those glowing yellow eyes. His paws were the size of dinner plates. She didn’t know if she’d ever seen a lion as big as him and such a light color. He was beautiful, if something so lethal could be called that. His mane was full, and he had lines of scars on his skin. His long tail twitched as he watched her. If they’d Changed together all those years ago when she’d known him, she couldn’t remember his lion. And this one would be impossible to forget.

Her heart was pounding, but not from fear. It was pounding because, in this moment, she’d realized what that steady feeling was. The word clicked into place as he sat down, a guardian of her home for the night. A guardian of her.

Safe.

Tonight, she was safe.

And even if he moved on and left her behind, she would never forget what he was doing for her right now. He was giving her a gift. Sleep. He was allowing her to let her guard down and rest her weary mind and instincts for a little while.

He was a very, very good man.

Through a full heart and a grateful smile, she murmured, “I’m really glad you’re back. Goodnight, Talon.”

Chapter Three

A wooden plank.

Rose had turned into a wooden plank. That’s the only thing that explained the stiffness in her body. With a groan, she log-rolled over in bed and squinted at the harsh ray of sunlight that blasted her in the retina. What in the hades?

She reached out and yanked the alarm clock closer. 11:40 am.

Rose sat up in a rush. What sorcery was this? She only slept past six if she was lucky. She patted her body all over, but the stiffness wasn’t from her injuries from the war. She lifted up the hem of her oversize T-shirt and looked at her stomach. Every claw mark and puncture wound from the war was completely healed, leaving only silver scars. “Whaaat?” she whispered in shock. She pushed up her sleeve to expose the cut she’d gotten across the back of her arm the night she’d been kidnapped. It had happened when Cassius had slammed her against the full-length bathroom mirror. The cut had been to the bone and bad enough that she’d thought she would bleed out the first night she spent in captivity with the Old Tarian Pride. She’d said her goodbyes in her mind to Grim, Ronin, and the rest of the boys in the New Tarian Pride who were trying to change the fate of all lion shifters. To improve it. She was so proud of those boys.

That night had been hard, but now she was staring down at her arm at a silver scar. She was really okay.

There was a scuffling noise in the bathroom attached to her bedroom. She had been using the bathroom on the other side of the house since she’d returned from being taken. She hadn’t been able to face what had happened in this one. Rose sniffed, scenting the air. The smell of cleaning solution and Talon’s cologne wafted to her. Tenderly, she got out of bed and stretched her aching back. She hadn’t in a million years ever imagined she would sleep good enough, deep enough, and long enough to get a stiff back like this again. Rose padded across the cold wood floors to the bathroom door opened just a crack. The light was on, casting a streak of gold across the floor and beckoning her closer.

With just a second of hesitation, she pressed her fingertips against the door and pushed. It creaked open until she could see him, Talon, on his hands and knees, scrubbing the floor. He wasn’t wearing a shirt, and his powerful shoulder muscles flexed with every movement. There was a blue plastic bucket beside him half-full of water that had turned crimson.

Talon leaned back on his folded legs and jammed a finger at the broken mirror. “Tell me whoever did this is dead.” When he looked at her, his eyes were glowing an impossibly bright gold color.

Rose crossed her arms over her stomach like a shield as she scanned the bathroom. He’d cleaned up the broken glass and all of the blood. He’d even hung the shower curtain back up, and the ruined bathmat was shoved into a trash bag on the ground. “Cassius did this. The girls killed him in the war.”

Talon’s broad shoulders lifted as he inhaled deeply. He blew his breath out slowly, fists clenched on his thighs. “Rose, are you okay?”

She showed him the scar. “Yes, look. All healed. That good sleep benefited me.”

“I don’t mean physically, Rose. Are you okay?”

She swallowed hard. She wouldn’t get away with a lie. Not when Talon seemed so attuned to her already. “I’m better now that I had a good night and you cleaned this room. I’ve been putting it off.”

“Letting it haunt you.”

Clever, clever man. She nodded.

He cast a quick glance at her toes and said, “Red is my favorite color. You look cute.”

Cute? She was sixty-two years young, and yeah, shifters aged well, but she hadn’t been called cute in a couple decades at least. Rose huffed a laugh and wiggled her toes. “Maybe I’ll get my fingernails done the same color. For you. As a thank you for…” She shrugged and looked around. “For this.”

“Yeah, well, I’m not done.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, I can’t leave here until this place is a safe home for you again.”

The mention of him leaving felt like someone had punched her right in the stomach. It sucked the air from her lungs, so she waited until she could draw a breath again before she forced a smile. “I’ll be fine.”

“Damn right, you will. I put in some orders for supplies. You gotta truck out back I’m gonna need to borrow to bring the supplies back here. I don’t want to pay extra for shipping it. There’s no point when I can do it myself. I made a list of stuff you need fixed up, Rose. It’s a long one.”

This man had stunned her on so many occasions since he’d come back, and here he was doing it again. “Oh, Talon, you don’t have to do that. It’s a lot of effort and—”

“I assume you aren’t going through some human insurance company because you would have to explain how your house got destroyed like this, and from my time with the Tarian Pride, I remember the rules. No human law to govern us.”

“I’m going to have to fix up the house in sections. I’m a retired florist. I get paid every couple of weeks from my retirement funds, but it mostly covers living expenses, not home repairs.”

Talon snorted. “Woman, you aren’t retired. I saw your greenhouse out back. You’re a worker bee.”

“Yeah, well, did you happen to see it’s destroyed? They wanted to make sure Ronin noticed me missing. They wanted to get to him by taking the only female in his Pride.”

Talon shrugged. “We will rebuild.”

“How?” She frowned and leaned against the open doorframe. “How do you know what to do?”

Talon smiled. “The best job for staying on the move was construction. I got real good at finding teams that needed help for a week, a month, or two months. I learned a lot that way, too, didn’t stay stagnant just hanging sheetrock or laying brick. I learned it all.”

Oooh, he was a fixer. Okay, that was the sexiest thing in the world. She had a huge thing for men who were handy with tools. When her lioness purred, she covered it with a cough.

The smile that curved his lips was nothing shy of wicked, though, so she figured he probably heard it.

“I don’t have the money to tackle it all at once.”

“Let me worry about that. I’ve already been calling in favors on some of the supplies we need.”

   
Most Popular
» Nothing But Trouble (Malibu University #1)
» Kill Switch (Devil's Night #3)
» Hold Me Today (Put A Ring On It #1)
» Spinning Silver
» Birthday Girl
» A Nordic King (Royal Romance #3)
» The Wild Heir (Royal Romance #2)
» The Swedish Prince (Royal Romance #1)
» Nothing Personal (Karina Halle)
» My Life in Shambles
» The Warrior Queen (The Hundredth Queen #4)
» The Rogue Queen (The Hundredth Queen #3)
romance.readsbookonline.com Copyright 2016 - 2021